Navotas on the brink of a 14-day lockdown

Published July 13, 2020, 3:37 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco on Monday announced that he will place “all residents under two-week lockdown” as the number of the city’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continue to rise with the easing of quarantine measures in Metro Manila.


Tiangco said that he has yet to sign an executive order regarding the lockdown, but he confirmed that they will implement it starting 5 a.m. of July 16 until 11:59 of July 29.

He added that he is now only waiting for some 200 police personnel, who will serve as augmentation forces. They will be assigned and deployed by the national government to the city to man the streets.

“Basta makuha ko ‘yung [Once we get the police] augmentation, we will just give one day notice and we will proceed,” he said,  “‘Yun na lang yung hinihintay ko, yung augmentation from the national government [That is only what I am waiting for — the police augmentation from the national government].”

During the period of lockdown, Tiangco said residents — except qualified workers — will not be allowed to go out of their homes. They are also prohibited from doing leisure activities and exercises allowed in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

The use of quarantine pass will once again be imposed. Selected businesses will be allowed to operate and residents can go to the market only three times a week on their scheduled day.

Tiangco said the local government will also conduct at least 300 “random” COVID-19 tests on the residents daily.

“The more number of cases [in the area], the more number of tests [to be conducted],” he added.

The local chief executive decided to place the city under lockdown after getting frustrated following the spike in COVID-19 cases in his area despite incessant appeals.  

In one of the videos he posted on his Facebook page, more than a dozen individuals were seen playing basketball without face masks.

“Mahirap manalo sa laban kung mismong mga kakampi natin ayaw makipagtulungan… Halos apat na buwan na po ang pakikipagbuno natin sa COVID-19 pero bakit hanggang ngayon di pa rin natin ito tuluyang mapuksa? [It’s difficult to win a war if your allies do not cooperate. We have been fighting this coronavirus for four months now and why have we not contained it yet?)” Tiangco wrote.

There was a time the city had more than 70 confirmed cases in one day and expressed alarm after this happened when the city was placed under GCQ.

“Noong enhanced community quarantine, ang pinakamataas namin na case is 25. Last Sunday, July 5, nagkaron kami ng 43 cases. So nataasan na ako dun. And then, noong Friday and Saturday parehong over 70 yung number of cases daily [During the enhanced community quarantine, our highest number of cases was only 25. But last Sunday, July 5, we recorded 43 cases. I find that already high. Then on Friday and Saturday, our new cases already reached 70 in just a day],” he noted.

“Sa isang pamilya, tatlo, lima. So nagkakahawaan na per family [In one family, there are three or five confirmed COVID-19 cases. So they’re already infecting each other],” he added.

Tiangco also wanted to prevent asymptomatic carriers from going outside their homes and stop the quarantine of patients at the two central isolation facilities (CIFs) of the city which are now fully occupied.

“‘Yung kasalubong nila na walang sintomas, hindi nila iniiwasan eh, sometimes nagiging relaxed sila. Kaya yung COVID, ang sinasabi ko, pag isa nagkaroon [They are too relaxed.  They do not avoid those who are asymptomatic carriers. In the case of COVID-19 if one gets infected) everyone [is] at risk,” he said in an interview over DZBB.  

“At kahit magtayo kami ng facility wala na kaming mailalagay na tao (Even if we put up a facility, we do not anymore have people to fill it up),” he added, saying some medical frontliners of the city have tested positive for COVID-19.

As of July 12, Navotas has reported 931 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 325 recoveries and 59 deaths.

Tiangco warned all barangay heads they will be charged with negligence of duty should they fail to strictly implement quarantine measures.

He also warned quarantine violators that they would face a heavier fine of P1,000 from the previous P300.  

“Ang nangyari, parang sa isip ng tao ‘yata nung nag-GCQ, lahat pwede na so hindi na macontrol yung tao [What happened is that people thought when the quarantine was relaxed to GCQ, they can already do anything so there was no control on the people anymore) ,” Tiangco said.